As the new ownership of the Guelph Royals begin to rebuild the franchise ahead of the 2018 season, the president of the Guelph Minor Baseball Association (GMBA) is hoping for a fresh start and new opportunity.
Brodie Richards said he looks forward to working with Mayor Cam Guthrie and Shawn Fuller, who were introduced as the new co-owners of the Intercounty Baseball Team on Monday.
“I think they both understand that it’s a tradition they’re taking on,” Richards said in an interview on Wednesday. “I don’t think people understand how long baseball has been a part of this city, and I think that’s what people need to fall in love with, is the team first and foremost and then the players.”
Guthrie and Fuller, who owns CanadaWide Sports, take over from past president Jim Rooney after the team folded in June.
Richards said the Royals have a significant stake in the community.
“I think it’s great for kids, we want kids to be active, and have a sports team like that – it’s no different than the (Guelph) Storm – it gives us a lot of opportunity with kids to get them outside,” Richards said.
Richards hopes there is an opportunity to build better partnership between the Royals and the GMBA.
“I think we can share a lot of the sponsorship,” he explained. “People who sponsor the Royals can sponsor the whole Royals in the sense of tapping into our market and their market.”
Richards said the association has grown over the last two years with baseball fans and families that would come out to weekend afternoon Royals baseball game.
He would also like to see more players from Guelph play for the Royals and hopes something can be worked out with Silvercreeks of the Junior Intercounty Baseball League.
“That’s a long term project for all us to help rebuild that tradition where midget players become Creeks (and then) become Royals,” Richards said.